I’ve quilted for years, given gifts, dabbled with selling little things. But I didn’t consider that I could make an actual income via quilting until very recently. It’s hard to sell a quilt for what it’s worth when the market is flooded with products from over seas where makers are paid cents on the dollar. While I assumed there’s no buyers to be found, I stumbled on one in an accidental conversation. And that changed everything.
There I was, thinking out loud and processing my lack of satisfaction with my career choices, pondering this daydream of being a “real” quilt maker. My friend, the faithful listener, says, “I’ll buy one.” Just like that. Sold. All of a sudden my dream of being a working professional has come true. In a way I’m a little ashamed that this changed everything. I was no more or less a maker before or after the transaction. But I felt totally different. Inspired. Activated. Legitimate.
Now I understand the value of a patron. I quilt like it’s my job now. All of a sudden I’ve been given the chance to do what I love to do. I’m a long way from a full time income, but there’s forward motion. The validation spurs my pursuit of mastery which girds my confidence and fuels my vision for the next project, the next idea, the next.
I’ve concluded everyone should have a patron. Obviously. Find that thing you love and then find someone to pay you to do it. Boom.
Ok, it’s not quite that simple. I stumbled on my first commission and the life-changing artist-patron experience. I wish I’d been intentional about making it happen years ago. Ah hind sight. But now that I’ve seen what it is to live this dream, I won’t go back. It can’t be unseen. If only I’d known this then.
If you’re an artist who hasn’t found your patron, here’s three simple changes to make that could change everything:
- Declare it – Think like an artist. Talk like an artist. Plan your day like you are the artist. Because if it walks like a duck…
- Make it – Intentionally. Mindfully. Gratefully. Do the diligent work of creating.
- Show it – Make something and show it. And then do it again. Be brave. Own it.
There is a market for you. Make like it’s your job. Just start.